Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.I Thessalonians 5:11
We recently went out of town and left our dog with my parents. We came back and noticed he was having some trouble getting up while on the tile. His rear legs could not muster the strength to lift himself up, but he seemed to be fine when he was on the carpet. We thought he was sore and worn out from being with their dog, so we bought him some shoes so that he could get a grip when on the tile. He was also drinking much more water than usual, and he started to have a hard time holding his bladder. We figured it was because he was drinking so much water, so we took him outside often, hoping to stay ahead of him making a mess inside. Then, when Rebekah went out of town, I woke up the next morning to a surprise, and not the good kind.
I walked into the family room and found he had used the bathroom all over the tile and missed his pee pad by about 6 inches. I put him outside so I could mop and clean up, and he watched me from the patio, eager to come back inside. It was not too hot at that time in the morning, but he is an inside dog, so I let him in after I cleaned up and I laid him down to wash his paws. He was trying to get up so I held him down and he didn’t much like it. I then noticed he acted like he was running on his side and his head was thrown back in an awkward, uncomfortable way and he was showing his teeth. I straightened his neck and tried to calm him down, but he had lost control and seemed to be on auto pilot. This continued for a minute or two, and my heart sank as it looked like he was having a seizure or a stroke. He immediately tried to get up after this ordeal, but his body went sideways and he could not stand. I immediately looked up the vet close to us, and they told me to come into urgent care.
My poor pup tried to stand up, but he simply could not as his left foot went limp and he could no longer stand on his own. I picked him up in my arms and carried him to the car where my son got in the driver’s seat and we headed to the animal hospital. He was taken back fairly quickly and the doctor came out to give me my options. They wanted to run tests on him and see what happened, but I knew he was in pain and there was really one option at this point. He had been with us for 22 months, and he was a kind, loving, old dog who helped us get through when our other dog ran away. I was faced with the decision to have to put him down, even though I was resigned to this fact when I saw him try to get up and walk. They took me a nice room and they brought him to us, and he seemed comfortable as he was lightly sedated. I petted him one last time and Nate and I said our goodbyes. I petted him all the way to the end as the medicine entered into his veins and stopped his heart.
I tried to fight the tears as I walked out the side door, but my heart was broken for my dog, which I did not expect. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone to see a text message I had just received from a dear sister at church. The message read, “I prayed for you today Saso!” My heart was warmed as I thought of the timing of the text, and God knowing exactly what I needed at that specific time. It was of great comfort and encouragement to me to see that text, and I was grateful for this message as I had just published a devotional about prayer that very morning. It was a bit of a rough day as the day wore on, but I did my best to press on. Later in the evening, I received a message stating there was something for me at the front door. I came home to find a bag filled with some delicious treats and a card from two kind ladies from our church. I was thankful for this kind gesture, and I was encouraged even though my little guy is no longer there to greet me. You never know the encouragement you can be to someone by a small gift or a text. I also received another text from my pastor friend who advised he was praying for me. My heart was overjoyed as I thought of God’s goodness through His people.
What can you do to be an encouragement to someone else? Will you forgo your own story of loss and discouragement and just be there for another? We are often tempted to share our own story of grief instead of simply being an encouragement to someone else. I know it was just a dog, but it meant a lot to me to hear from some close friends via text and a nice card with goodies. I know the pain will wane, but the encouragement of God’s people will not be forgotten. May we look to be an encouragement to others, and may we look for opportunities to show God’s love.